If you’ve got kids or are expecting, your wallet is about to get a whole lot lighter.
According to a study by the Brookings Institution, your little bundle of joy comes with a hefty price tag.
Americans are now spending, on average, $310,605 to raise ONE child to the age of 17.
(This is based on a middle-class family with two parents and two kids.)
Expenses used in the calculation include everything from housing, utilities & gas to groceries, clothing, child care, healthcare, education, and miscellaneous items such as haircuts, diapers, sports equipment, and extracurriculars.
(It’s important to note that this does NOT include the cost of sending your children off to college. So if you’re kiddo is planning on higher education, you better start buying lottery tickets now.)
You may not be able to put a price on love, but you can put a price on how much your loved ones are going to cost you eating all.the.snacks. and hogging the wifi.
The love I have for my kids: Priceless
The cost of raising my 3 kids to age 17: $931,815
This is up 9.1% from a previous report in 2017 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the cost of raising one child born in 2015 was $233,610.
So what’s driving up the cost of having kids? We’ve got inflation to thank for that.
Nearly everything costs more. All it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store or a fill-up at the pumps to see that it’s taking its toll on our bottom line.
A toll, that, according to experts, costs a staggering $18,271 per child PER YEAR. Which, to be honest seems a little low.
Especially when you consider how expensive daycare alone is in the U.S.
According to CHILD CARE AWARE OF AMERICA, if you’re unlucky enough to live in Massachusetts, you’re shelling out $16,781 a year on average, FOR ONE CHILD.
Of course, if you’re living in South Dakota or Mississippi, that number significantly drops to $5400 (which still eats up 30% of the estimated cost of raising a kid/year).
Add in all of your other expenses & it’s enough to make you want to drown your financial stress in a neverending bowl of chocolate M&Ms.
Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and the mastermind behind the latest cost estimate, told the Wall Street Journal about her findings:
“It’s a kind of wake up call to parents.
It tells them you better think hard before you have a child or another child because it’s going to have a major impact on your pocketbook.”
Americans are already struggling to make ends meet. More than 12.5 M children in the U.S live in poverty.
Additionally, the Brookings Institute did not take into account “projections for single-parent households or consider how race factors into cost challenges.”
“Rising expenses for raising a family could disproportionately affect lower-income families.
For a single parent earning $20,000 or $30,000 a year, shelling out the extra funds for a child might be difficult.”
Might be difficult? This seems like a gross understatement.
So how is the cost of parenthood affecting birth rates?
According to the U.S CENSUS, birth rates significantly declined between 2019 and 2021. To the tune of over 9.4% in January of 2020. This was the lowest it’s been in more than four decades.
This not-so-coincidentally coincides with a global pandemic, a war in Ukraine, and inflation that just hit its highest peak in 41 years.
Millennials and Gen-Zs are opting out of kids. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 44% of non-parents between the ages of 18 and 49 likely won’t have kids at all.
This decision is due to varying factors including, financial, medical, & the current state of the world.
Look, I don’t need a report to tell me that having kids is expensive.
All I have to do is look at my dwindling bank account and a neverending stream of debits to know that we are hemorrhaging money.
However, if you were to ask any parent they would say having kids is worth it. Because they are.
Unfortunately, for those of us who are already feeling the financial squeeze, they’re just costing us a heck of a lot more today than they used to, and based on our current economy, this likely won’t be changing any time soon.